Lethal Neglect: The Warsaw Ghetto

Warning: graphic footage.

The Warsaw Ghetto was a Nazi experiment in the use of Lethal Neglect as a
means of execution.

Most of the footage in the film below was shot by the Nazis who sought to document the day-to-day decline in the health of residents walled off from
the rest of the community.

The idea of lethal selection (neglect) as a means of execution was an American idea, first described by Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson in the 1918 handbook,

Applied Eugenics.

A quote from an early 201th Century Eugenics advocate, Alexis Carrel, who says that the disabled should be executed.
From a December 2010 article in The New Statesman: When America believed in eugenics.

We must oppose fascism, in all of its forms, wherever it emerges.

Warsaw Ghetto 1940-1943

Nazi Propaganda that depicts Jews as Rats
Nazi Propaganda depicts the Jewish People as rats to be exterminated.

For further reading see: Lethal Neglect: American Eugenics in the 21st Century







Lethal Neglect: American Eugenics in the 21st Century

First posted May 2016

In 1918 the American Eugenics Movement proposed extreme poverty as a means of executing undesirables and mental defectives.

Eugenicists called it Lethal Neglect or Lethal Selection

“Selection by death may result either from inadequate food supply, or from some other lethal reason. ” Review of Applied Eugenics, By Paul Popenoe and Roswell H. Johnson, Eugenical News (vol. 4)

A page from Applied Eugenics by Paul Popenoe, that recommends using poverty to reduce the population of 'inferior people'
A page from Applied Eugenics by Paul Popenoe.

Nazi Germany was the most extreme expression of a global movement started by wealthy Americans in the late 1800’s.

The American Eugenics Movement provided the template for Nazi Germany.

The use of the Warsaw Ghetto in Nazi occupied Poland meets the criteria for mass murder by Lethal Neglect.

“On October 12, 1940, the Germans decreed the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. The decree required all Jewish residents of Warsaw to move into a designated area, which German authorities sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940. The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw. The population of the ghetto, increased by Jews compelled to move in from nearby towns, was estimated to be over 400,000 Jews. German authorities forced ghetto residents to live in an area of 1.3 square miles, with an average of 7.2 persons per room. ” Holocaust Encyclopedia

Nothing was allowed through the wall; no water, no food, no medical care and no way out.

The Nazi’s took daily photographs of the residents to document their decline.

In January 1942, nearly 6,000 people – and perhaps 100,000 people, 1939 to 1942 – died of starvation and disease in the ghetto.  The Warsaw Ghetto, 1940-3

The American Eugenics movement was such a powerful global movement that Nazis on trial at Nuremberg after World War II cited American Eugenics programs as a defense of their policies and mentioned Buck v. Bell in their testimony.

This brings us to today:

After 40 years of the passive neglect of the mentally ill the GOP is openly embracing policies that will cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.


A young well dressed man on a cell phone passes a homless man sitting on the sidewalk in San Francisco.
And the streets are perfectly clean

Oct 5, 2017Republicans let health insurance expire for 9 million American children.

Life Unworthy of Life
Lethal Neglect: the failure to provide the goods or services necessary for functioning or to avoid harm.

Oct 12, 2017  Trump signs new executive order to sabotage the ACA

Photograph of an elderly homeless man staggering as he pushes a heavy shopping cart through Clarion Alley in San Francisco
Lethal Neglect is targeting specific people for death by poverty.


Former KKK wizard David Duke, for example, has been proclaiming on Twitter that Trump’s election and cabinet picks are the first steps toward “taking America back” — that is, taking America “back” from anyone who isn’t descended from fair-skinned Europeans. In white nationalist ideology, only white Americans have a true right to the country — and the rights that go along with citizenship, like voting. Think Progress

“For almost three generations people, in some cases, have been given handouts,” Johnston said. “They have been ‘enabled’ so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager.”

“What you see is a setting for a life of misery is life to them never-the-less,” he continued. “No one has the guts to just let them wither and die. No one who wants votes is willing to call a spade a spade. As long as the Dems can get their votes the enabling will continue. The Republicans need their votes and dare not cut the fiscal tether. It is really a political Catch-22.” Indiana Republican John Johnston

Indiana Republican: ‘No One Has the Guts’ to Let the Poor ‘Wither and Die’

Photograph of a disabled homeless man with his arm in a cast sleeping on a filthy mattress on a street in San Francisco
San Francisco shows its guts


(c) Rob Goldstein 2016-2017 all rights reserved























Mental Health: Mental Illness and Lethal Medical Neglect

I saw my first mentally ill homeless person in in Honolulu in the spring of 1982.

I worked at the psychiatric unit on which the homeless man had recently been a patient.

John came to us for a course of ECT treatments in the hope the ECT would resolve the worst symptoms of his Schizophrenia.

John was psychotic and minimally responsive to medications.

I was on his treatment team and assisted his psychiatrist with the ECT.

After his treatments we sent John back to the State Hospital where we hoped he would remain stable enough to live on an open unit.

When I saw John on Hotel Street two weeks later digging through garbage for food, I was shocked.

I thought that he was in danger and went to his psychiatrist to report my concern.

Dr. Popenoe: Yes?

Me: I just saw John B. He is disorganized, filthy, and on the street eating trash. I thought you should know.

Dr. Popenoe: Why?

Me: (not getting it) I thought you should know. Shouldn’t John be in the hospital?

Dr. Popenoe: Don’t worry about John.

Me: What?

Dr. Popenoe: Don’t worry about John, He has better survival skills than I do.

Me: (still not getting it) How can that be? You’re married. You have a career. You support a family. John is eating trash.

Dr. Popenoe: (frowning) Don’t worry about John. (He glances at his watch) I’m scheduled to see a patient.

I was fired a week later.

The President of the United States in the Spring of 1982 is Ronald Reagan. He is closing the nation’s state hospitals.

lethal selection
Lethal Medical Neglect

The American Eugenics Movement

The rich founders of the American Eugenics Movement in the early 1900‘s read Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection and decided they were the “fit” who are meant to survive to pass on their genes.

These men believed civilization and improved medical technology subverted the goal of natural selection which favors the quick and strong.  And the rich.

Common descriptions of people deemed genetically unfit implied moral turpitude.

Madison Grant, president of the Eugenics Research Association and the American Eugenics Society, wrote in The Passing of the Great Race:

 “Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilization of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community. The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.”

eugenics 1920s
Mentally Diseased, Sex Perverts, Illegitimate, Paupers, Criminals and Murderers

He goes on to say: ” It is highly unjust that a minute minority should be called upon to supply brains for the unthinking mass of the community, but it is even worse to burden the responsible and larger, but still overworked, elements in the community with an ever increasing number of moral perverts, mental defectives, and hereditary cripples”

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.

In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.

A Carnegie funded 1911 Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association recommended eighteen solutions to the problem of mental defectives.

Among the recommendations was execution and forced sterilization.

Methods of determining who was fit involved classifying people and their families by degrees of intelligence, material success and conformity to the rules of Social Hygiene.

eugenics - virginia
The New Virginia Law to Preserve Racial Integrity

From Applied Eugenics:

An elementary knowledge of the history of Africa, or the more recent and much-quoted example of Haiti, is sufficient to prove[Pg 284] that the Negro’s own social heritage is at a level far below that of the whites among whom he is living in the United States. No matter how much one may admire some of the Negro’s individual traits, one must admit that his development of group traits is primitive, and suggests a mental development which is also primitive.

If the number of original contributions which it has made to the world’s civilization is any fair criterion of the relative value of a race, then the Negro race must be placed very near zero on the scale

Four Types of Mental Deficiency

In 1918, Paul Popenoe, an Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the internationally used textbook, Applied Eugenics.

Popenoe observed what he called Lethal Selection at work during the War.

He wrote:

“Poverty becomes rife, and sanitation and medical treatment are commonly sacrificed under the strain. During a war, that mitigation of the action of natural selection which is so common now among civilized nations, is somewhat less effective than in times of peace.”

For Popenoe the primary solution to the problem of mental defectives is execution by Lethal Neglect.

 William Robinson, a New York urologist, published widely on the topic of birth control and eugenics. In Robinson’s book, Eugenics, Marriage and Birth Control (practical Eugenics), he advocates gassing the children of the unfit.

Robinson wrote: “The best thing would be to gently chloroform these children or to give them a dose of potassium cyanide.”

“Society cannot prevent the birth of all the unfit and degenerates, but it certainly has the right to prevent the birth of as many of them as possible…when it comes to distinctly and unquestionably anti-social acts, a human being has no more rights than an animal. We pity the paranoiac, we pity the insane, we pity the degenerate, but none the less we have not only the right but it is our duty to prevent the paranoiac, the insane, and the degenerate from reproducing their kind, from polluting the racial stock, and from being a social and economic burden to the sane, the normal and the healthy.”

A Day in His Life

The 1927 Supreme Court Buck v. Bell decision upheld the right of the State to impose sterilization on the unfit. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”


With this decision the Mentally Ill and the disabled acquired a deeper and more sinister stigma.

We no longer had the right to live and it was OK to kill us if no one was looking or cared.

The most commonly suggested method of execution was to set up local gas chambers. However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions. For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit people would be resistant), resulting in 30-40% annual death rates. Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.  Eugenics in the United States


Lethal Medical Neglect

Applied Eugenics devotes a chapter to Lethal Selection: Two forms of lethal selection were distinguished, one depending on starvation and the other on causes not connected with the food supply. Direct starvation is not a factor of importance in the survival of most races during most of the time at the present day so far as the civilized portion of the world is concerned. But disease and the other lethal factors not connected with the food-supply, through which natural selection acts, are still of great importance. From a half to two-thirds of all deaths are of a selective character, even under favorable conditions.

Criminals in power legalize their crimes.

A Short Timeline of Events

In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty States soon passed similar laws.

By 1921, California had accounted for 80% of the mandatory sterilizations performed.

By 1930 the forced sterilization of and segregation of the mentally ill and other people deemed unfit became policy throughout most of the industrialized world.

Art by Rob Goldstein
We deprive our mentally ill of resources and let them die on our streets.

The unfit were the poor, the mentally ill, the blind, the deaf, the developmentally disabled, prostitutes, homosexuals, Blacks, Jews, and anyone deemed degenerate.

By 1938 Jews and other undesirables are detained, starved and gassed to death in Hitler’s concentration camps.

If you think this can’t happen in the United States then may not understand that it has happened.

We don’t use concentration camps in the U.S.

We deprive our mentally ill of access to an abundance of essential resources and let them die on our clean streets.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Lethal Neglect as a means of execution.


Rob Goldstein (c) 2016 All Rights Reserved